What a difference the wind makes. Today the wind has dropped significantly and swung around to the east. Temperatures much higher and I was actually able to freewheel some. The previous couple of days have seen me pedalling downhill and only achieving 8mph at times, so strong was the headwind. So good progress today and I ticked off the 55miles by late afternoon. Thankfully I pulled into the car park at my hotel for the night just ahead of the rain clouds. After starting the day with a big climb out of Le Tréport, this felt good.
The hotel itself is somewhat disappointing. I have deliberately picked cheap hotels for this trip, but this one promised more. When I got to the room and checked out the bathroom there was what looked like some kind of space age shower over a bath tub, jets and nozzles everywhere. I was looking forward to a bath before dinner, only to discover that the only bit of this contraption which actually worked was the 1970’s style tap attachment shower head – no plug for the bath and hold the shower yourself! Still, what did I expect for €40 I guess.
The riding between Le Tréport and Fécamp was good. Some big climbs rewarded by fast downhills and the majority of it on small, quiet but nicely Tarmac’ d roads. The first major waypoint I hit was Dieppe, lodged in my mind for the 1942 raid by British and Canadian commandos. The cathedral is quite spectacular so I stopped off for a couple of pictures. Although if I’m honest I was merely gathering myself for a huge climb back out of the port having enjoyed a huge downhill freewheel from the main road up on the tops.
After some pretty flat rides in Pas de Calais, the advent of hills was something new. Having ridden into the wind for two days though it wasn’t too much of a chore. I think on balance, despite the fact that I’m not one of those minority nut cases who like climbing, I would rather have hills than wind.
At least with hills there’s normally a reward to be taken from the top.
I stopped at a small town called Le Bourg-Dun for a trip to the boulangerie and stocked up on what seems to be my favourite riding fuel in France – pain au raisin. Add to this a refresh of my water bottles and I was ready to go for the afternoon.
The church at Le Bourg-Dun seemed overly elaborate for the small collection of houses around it – but this seems to be the French way. Even tiny villages often have some amazing churches and graveyards.
Fécamp itself seems a pretty little town. I found my way to the town hall by accident, before discovering that my hotel for the night was a further mile away down on the seafront. The town hall itself is quite impressive. Also in the town is a spectacular abbey, the site of which dates back to 650 AD – although the original buildings were destroyed in raids by Vikings in around 900 AD. What remains today is pretty impressive;
The next leg is on to Caen – 71 miles and a few big hills. This is definitely looking like the roughest ride of the tour so far. With the bike needing a little maintenance in the morning I decided not to explore Fécamp and to stay local to the hotel, dining at their creperie. Crepe for main, with scallops and leeks
And then followed this with a further crepe for desert. This time a crepe tartin with flambé calvados poured over it at the table. Delicious!